Our main objective in Gaza is to ensure unified, consistent and enhanced poverty targeting and interventions processes, which will enable us to mitigate poor households’ suffering, incorporate human-development work and make efficient use of the resources available. The integration of the Emergency Programme with RSS, in April 2013, has led to several structural changes and a number of added units and divisions, which have enabled us to focus on more sustainable programmes in our different divisions. We hope that now we will be able to formulate a comprehensive programme to better serve Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip.
In Gaza, we provide impoverished Palestine refugees with social safety-net (SSN) assistance on a quarterly basis, and promote the development and self-reliance of disadvantaged members of the Palestine refugee community, especially women, children, youth, people with disabilities and the elderly.
RSS also maintains updates and preserves the records and documents of registered Palestine refugees in order to determine eligibility for UNRWA services. Those registered refugees identified as the 'abject poor', or the poorest of the poor, receive assistance through SSN.
Emergency food assistance became part of UNRWA intervention work as early as 2000, when the second intifada and its aftermath drastically changed the socioeconomic conditions of the Gaza Strip. Since then, we have taken different approaches to targeting recipients of emergency food assistance, including both income-based approaches, such as salary thresholds, and poverty-based approaches. In 2013, approximately 700,000 Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip receive emergency food assistance.
An important part of our work in Gaza is community-based rehabilitation (CBR), a set of strategies that aim to rehabilitate and socially integrate all people with disabilities while providing them with equal opportunities. We implement CBR through the combined efforts of persons with disabilities themselves, their families and communities and the appropriate health, education, vocational and social services. In 2012, the RSS disability programme worked with 17,851 men, women and children with disabilities, including registered Palestine refugees as well as non-registered individuals.
We also implement programmes specifically for registered Palestine refugee women through seven Women’s Programme Centres (WPCs) that aim to empower refugee women, enhance their economic status and social development, promote their role within both the family and community and strengthen their self-confidence and self-reliance. In 2012, the WPCs served 28,486 women, providing them a wide range of activities.
UNRWA maintains a special focus on young people, in light of their current situation and international human rights law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our programme seeks to enhance the well-being of children and youth and to promote their participation in constructive activities. We offer capacity-building and awareness-raising activities, along with sport, cultural and recreational opportunities. In 2012, the programme served a total of 25,527 Palestine refugee children and youth.
In addition to youth, we also work with orphans. Our sub-programme provides special sponsorship for orphans through a project funded by the United Arab Emirate Red Crescent (ERC). It provides cash assistance and aims to promote the advancement of Palestine refugee orphans as partners in the development process by strengthening their role and active participation in the development of their families and communities. By December 2012, the programme had served a total of 2,459 orphans.
Our programme also focuses on the elderly, attempting to improve their daily living conditions, provide them with the necessary assistance and promote their full participation in society. In addition to the cash assistance, the programme provides direct assistance such as wheelchairs, walkers and medical mattresses. By December 2012, the programme had served 2,474 beneficiaries.
RSS provides interventions through the Social Intervention Unit (SIU), collecting data on registered Palestine refugees and deciding on the type of intervention needed. The SIU was established in April 2013 but began its work informally in June 2011. Since then, we have recorded 368 cases of social intervention.